"I didn't know what I wanted to do," she remembers, "but I always
enjoyed math." That was the seed that, once planted, took her in a
Harberts grew up in Coatsburg, near Quincy,
and graduated from Camp Point High School. She also graduated from
Western Illinois University at Macomb and later returned to WIU for
her master's degree.
After college, she worked in a factory for a few years. It paid
well, but it was not very rewarding and there was no challenge.
She wanted to have a family and be able to spend time with
children and a husband, but she wasn't sure what she should do. The
idea of teaching crept into her thoughts, and it felt like a good
fit. She returned to school and focused on a teaching career.
Her first job was at Greenville High School, teaching math. After
two years, she received a reduction-in-force notice. Then she was
chosen as the math instructor at Lincoln Community High School, and
the rest is history. Or, actually, math and science. Her math
assignment lasted six years before science classes were added to the
agenda, and she has taught both for the last 26 years.
Aside from teaching, she has been a class sponsor, sponsor for
the wrestling cheerleading squad her first year, and sponsor for the
Math Club, yearbook and Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering.
One of her WYSE groups built a hover craft in order to study
Newton's law of motion.
"That was one of my best memories from that organization," Mrs.
Harberts said. "The kids loved it, and they learned so much with the
"If you see it, hear it, do it, it stays with you. That is what
the projects were designed to do -- make concepts and theories real,
and apply them to everyday things. It was really a good program."
Betty is an easygoing person who is confident in her knowledge
and willing to make every effort to allow students to learn. She
wanted them to understand and be able to make practical application.
But after her last day is over, it is up to the next person to carry
on and do as they see fit.
"The new teacher, Josh Respah, is a guy I think will help the
students learn and promote some of the same ideas I felt were
important," she said. "Not that it has to be the way I did it, but I
want the students to have the best possible situation in which to
"After I was in the classroom and made this my career, I felt
that teaching was what I was meant to do," she said. "There were
little moments that made me feel I was making a difference. Every
day was a good experience.
"Math and science are not always the students' favorite things,
but I would like to think I made it tolerable," she said.
[to top of second column]
Mrs. Harberts still sees some of her former students in town.
Some of their children have also been her students. She knows
adjusting to high school is a difficult experience, and it is a
great feeling to be remembered as a positive part of their time at
She lives outside of Lincoln and plans to remain a part of the
community. Her son lives in Colorado and her daughter in Florida.
She will have a new grandchild in September, so a visit for that
occasion is already set.
"I have flower beds, and right now they look OK, but they need
some attention," she admitted. More time and a less hectic schedule
will make gardening easier.
"I would like to do more fishing, too," she continued. "We have a
pond, and so that won't be too difficult, to go out there and spend
In conclusion, she said, "I truly enjoyed the students of Logan
County. I enjoyed watching them learn, and know I learned from them,
In reference to receiving the Teacher of the Year award, she
said: "The teachers nominate each other, so you are selected by your
peers. Then the students vote on the list of nominees. To have other
teachers put your name on the list and the student body choose you,
especially you, makes the award mean so much more. I will never
forget that feeling."
[By MARLA BLAIR]
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